‘You Are Wrong and Your God Is Wrong.’

 

“You are wrong and your God is wrong.” A statement that a committed Catholic, Christian, or Jew might hear in China, North Korea, or in any number of countries, but not in Canada, and not from a judge.

Mary Wagner may be known in Canada, and in the United States among pro-life advocates, but she is well known in Poland. Poland is under pressure from the EU to liberalize their abortion laws. Poland is also under pressure to repeal a mandatory retirement age for judges, a law that was written to remove judges that were hearing cases during the Soviet occupation of Poland. As one writer put it, Poland was not impressed with the old totalitarians, and they are not impressed with the new totalitarians. Mary Wagner has been honored with a postage stamp in Poland.

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Practical Differences Between the Orthodox and Evangelicals

 
First Orthodox Cathedral built in Georgia in 1,000 years.

I am a Baptist and a missionary that was on the field for 14 years and I worked primarily in Georgia but other Orthodox countries as well. My experience with culturally Orthodox and faithful Orthodox believers are from these countries in descending order of interaction, Georgia, Russia, Romania, Ukraine, and America. I was inspired by this post from @heavywater on the conversion of the Bible Answers man to Orthodoxy. What I wanted to do here is to lay out the practical differences I found between not just the teaching of Orthodoxy and Evangelicals generally but how the teaching is put to work in the real world. I am a Baptist and I would be a Reformed Baptist, on the question of salvation, to lay down a theological marker.

I am not trying to win or even make an argument here, I am not interested in this post who better reflects the teaching in the Bible or the wishes of Christ, instead I want to lay out how the differences in the teachings of the two churches play out in the lives of people practicing the two faiths. I want to illuminate what motivates the conversions that move people from Orthodoxy to Evangelicalism and what often motivates the reverse. I intend to take a more bottom-up look at what happens here so instead of starting with theology and then working down to the people I am going to start with the people and work my way up to some insights on the theology.

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Why Jews Have Abandoned Judaism

 

Abandon is a pretty strong word; I could have worded my title differently, but I believe that most of modern Jewry have, for all intents and purposes, left the fold. Only a small number of Jews are observant Jews, and I am not one of them. I decided to explore this question, and hopefully clarify for myself not just what it means to be a Jew, but what it means for me to be Jew. As you look at the lives of Jews whom you know, you might want to explore some of these issues with them. I am including some of my personal experiences as a Jew, and I will leave you to determine the legitimacy of my claims.

First, I was raised in a nearly secular family. We rarely if ever discussed G-d. I don’t even know if my father believed in G-d. Although my mother occasionally mentioned G-d, her level of belief (if at all) was unclear. Both my parents were raised in broken homes, with some version of Judaism that might have included keeping kosher, but I honestly don’t know if they observed any of the holidays. I know that my father read Hebrew, but I just now realize that I don’t know if he was a bar mitzvah. And both my parents have died. When I asked my father why he grudgingly went to synagogue on the High Holidays, he said he didn’t need to go there to experience G-d. Whether he experienced G-d elsewhere I’ll never know.

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If a crucifix doesn’t interest you, then imagine that this cross is a memorial of some other person, place, or idea which is precious to you and relevant to many. It could be a symbol of American history and freedom. It could be a testament to your ancestors. And so on. If you found such […]

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Wisdom Is Wisdom

 

My friend, the village atheist, keeps asking me how anyone can believe in some guy with a long beard up in the clouds directing life. The answer is simple. No one believes such a tale. My friend is a partisan Democrat, so he’s an expert in straw-man arguments, argumentum ad hominem, and other foolishness, of which he is incurable.

When I reluctantly left the Catholic Church, there was a vacancy in my spirit; I let the space to the early Buddhists, the ones in Ceylon who do not require any specific metaphysical beliefs. One of the early sutras tells of someone asking Buddha if there is life after death, no life after death, both, or neither. (They were thorough.) He replied that they have not heard him assert any of these, they will not hear him assert any of these, and the reason he will not assert any of these is that knowing the answer to any of these does not lead, does not conduce to, does not bring us to the Religious Life. And if you say I will not enter the Way until I know the answers, you are like one shot with an arrow who says to one seeking to remove it that he will not allow the removal until he knows who made the arrow and of what parentage and color hair he was. Buddha just ignored metaphysics, it seemed. Since I had probably more than one arrow in me, this sounded good to me. Buddhism offered a method, not a belief system.

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As a disclaimer, I would like to say that this post is targeted at Christians, but I hope that anyone who reads it will get something encouraging from it. :)   More

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I have been trying to convince myself of something and so far it’s not working. Maybe typing it out will clear it up. The conflict is between “It doesn’t matter – don’t worry about it” and “It is very important to be informed and take action” as it relates to current politics. One technique to […]

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud the USA Today editorial writers for pointing out Medicare for All would rip more than 100 million Americans away from coverage they like and run up a cost that even government economists can’t figure out. They also slam Cory Booker for demanding a […]

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Icon, Part 10: The Harrowing of Hades

 

What is the full meaning of Christ’s crucifixion on the cross, and His resurrection? Was it an atonement for our sins? A payment for our sins? Or was it something else far deeper? What was it that Jesus actually did, and why does it matter? For Orthodox Christians, the focus of Great and Holy Pascha (their word for Easter), the Feast of Feasts, is about far more than the empty tomb or some sense of payment, but about Life itself. “Christ is Risen!” we will greet each other, “Truly He is Risen” we reply. Christos Anesti! Alethos Anesti! And again and again we sing the Troparion:

Christ is Risen from the grave,
Trampling down death by death,
And upon those in the tombs bestowing life.

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Is Pope Francis a Heretic?

 

I want to call your attention first to this from respected Vatican journalist Edward Pentin:

The well-known and respected Dominican theologian Father Aidan Nichols has put his name to an historic open letter to bishops claiming Pope Francis is guilty of heresy and calling on them to formally correct him.

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Apparently Socialists don’t like having their hypocrisy pointed out anymore than humans do:   This is the danger of being a radical and taking a stand. Once you claim to have principles you gain a new ability: hypocrisy. The only people who can’t be hypocrites are nihilists who have committed suicide. For everyone else this […]

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America pray for the best in Venezuela as opposition leader Juan Guaido urges the military to rise up against the corrupt, socialist Maduro regime. They also roll their eyes as Stacey Abrams still plays the victim card of voter suppression while announcing she will not […]

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America recoil at the synagogue shooting in southern California but also honor the heroes who made sure the attack was not far deadlier. They also wince as the annual meeting of the National Rifle Association ends in a very public dispute between two top officials, […]

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Lewis’s prognosis—or is it perhaps a prophecy?—is the stuff of great science fiction, often reminiscent of Huxley’s earlier Brave New World or Orwell’s later 1984 or other classic dystopian stories (as discussed in chapters 14 and 17 in the volume under review). Accordingly, those who love both C.S. Lewis and science fiction will rejoice that there is now an […]

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David French of Radio America and Greg Corombos of Radio America groan as Joe Biden enters the 2020 presidential race vowing to return the nation to the Obama-Biden era and they break down the advantages and disadvantages Biden brings to the campaign. They also discuss the measles outbreaks and how they seem to be entirely […]

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Passover, Houses of Worship, and Intimacy

 

On Passover/Pesach I spent a sweet and deeply moving (and fun) time at the @iwe family seders. It’s not unusual for them to last until 1:30 to 2 a.m., and I’ve been told those are short ones! As always, they were inspiring and educational, and I’ve so enjoyed being with the iwe family for Pesach over the last four years.

During the seder, we spend a lot of time asking questions and discussing many aspects of the exodus from Egypt and the purpose of the rituals we practice. At one point (although I don’t remember the specific context), the topic came up of the Beis HaMikdash, the Second Temple built by Herod, expanding on the ruins of the first. Consider that Herod’s purpose was not just to bring people together and to honor G-d, but to build a magnificent monument to Herod’s power and glory. In fact, the Second Temple was a huge facility but might have lacked spiritual warmth. That might not have been the kind of building that G-d had commanded to be built.

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A few years ago, Sam Harris appeared on Bill Maher’s television show and got into a debate over Islam with actor Ben Affleck. Harris mentioned that by failing to criticize Islam, “Liberals have really failed us,” and then Harris called Islam “the motherlode of bad ideas.” Affleck responded by calling this remark, “racist.” Others on […]

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Member Post

 

At that time, when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two Disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me. If anyone says anything […]

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